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Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
19/08/2011
Integrity testing

HUNT-SHARMAN, Mr Jonathan, National President, Australian Federal Police Association

TORR, Mr Jim, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Federal Police Association

BURGESS, Mr Mark, Chief Executive Officer. Police Federal of Australia

SKINNER, Mr Angus, Project Officer, Police Federation of Australia

[14.02]

CHAIR: I now welcome representatives from the Australian Federal Police Association and the Police Federation of Australia. You have lodged public submissions with this committee which we have numbered as submissions 6 and 7. Would you like to make any amendments or additions to those submissions?

Mr Jim Torr : No, thank you.

Mr Mark Burgess : No, thank you.

CHAIR: I invite you to make opening statements and then the committee will ask questions.

Mr Torr : Thank you very much to the committee for taking the time to hear us and our colleagues in the Police Federation of Australia. We have worked with some of you before and we have had a really constructive relationship so we are looking forward to being able to give our views today. The whole question of integrity testing is a broad issue, which has the significance to have great impact on how a police force functions, how effectively it works, how much trust exists within it and how effectively the force is kept free of corrupt behaviour.

From the outset I would say that one of our values in the Federal Police Association is that our members should be able to work free of the risk of compromise by the corrupt conduct of others. We were active in the formation of ACLEI and we supported its development and we have had a very good working relationship with the commissioner, Mr Moss, and his team since then. We are also alert to the fact that every new idea or notion in relation to scouring police for fault and searching for failure is heaped on police in the first instance before anyone else. There are many other professions which we would argue are just as accountable and just as subject to compromise by corrupt conduct as police forces, and yet police in the first instance always seem to attract these sorts of intrusions.

These are intrusions which come on top of many, many other accountabilities that our members already face. We were also jointly responsible for developing security in the AFP context: comprehensive security clearance processes, which actually look at family members and friends, et cetera; initial and regular financial disclosure of assets and debts; random and targeted drug testing of which the AFPA was a joint partner in developing the AFP program; critical incident drug and alcohol testing; loss of superannuation for corruption offences; of course all the criminal sanctions; the obligations to provide information under direction; and there are many other aspects to the accountability we already provide.

Having said all that, we have not seen the argument put in front of us that would now justify another intrusion into the normal process of police business and police accountability. Obviously though, we can see that the committee is interested in the idea and we have some views which we are very pleased to share with you.

Although the AFP is young, it is mature in terms of its professional standards structure. Its members are educated from day 1 by both the AFP and ourselves on the importance of a corruption-free workplace and proper conduct and the importance of obeying of laws, and this applies to all levels. I am old enough to remember a police commissioner going to jail for corruption so every level in the organisation is accountable.

As we are mature in our structures we believe that if the committee does recommend some sort of an integrity testing process, that it be targeted at serious concerns where serious corruption is considered, not a cop getting half price McDonald's. There is already enough in train and enough resources at the scant front line going after the civilian crooks that should the committee go down that path, we would set the target very high.

From the outset we have talked to the ACLEI commissioner, and we would want to see ACLEI have the chief responsibility of approving any sort of integrity test process, being satisfied that the integrity test itself was not a breach of the integrity of the organisation and that would mean an approval process where a degree of suspicion is satisfied. We would see ACLEI taking responsibility that the testing process is reasonable in all the circumstances, that approval of the process is appropriate. We would expect them to ask questions such as, 'How many times have you targeted Sergeant XYZ? Eight times and you still have not caught him? Is there a bigger picture here?' It would be very much a similar arrangement to a conventional search warrant or telephone intercept application. We would invest our trust in ACLEI as a separate organisation from the AFP to be able to bring that perspective and that impartiality. Of course we would expect that from time to time they do it with AFP assistance. A great deal of investigational expertise rests within the AFP and ACLEI obviously has a big mission and a limited amount of budgetary support. Serious corruption offences therefore should be the focus.

We would also expect, as for the federal controlled operations legislation, that there be a reporting process to parliament on how often these tests are done so that people such as yourselves can keep a watchful eye on the way the organisation and ACLEI itself is doing these tests. Finally, that obviously would have to be underpinned by legislation.

We do not support the notion of an in-house in-AFP idea of the AFP deciding to check Constable Joe Blow. We do not support it in the interests of both the AFP in our view and of course in the interests of our members. That is a summary of what we think on the subject.

CHAIR: Do you want to comment?

Mr Burgess : Yes, thank you, Chair, I will say a few words. Of course the PFA supports the submission made by the Australian Federal Police Association but as we represent all Australian police officers, all 55,000 across all jurisdictions, there are a few areas of concern that we have, particularly about any Commonwealth integrity testing scheme implicating or having impact on state and territory officers. State and territory police officers are already subject to a range of integrity regimes that are deemed to be appropriate by the respective jurisdictions. We believe that is the ideal situation and any scheme that may result from this inquiry should maintain that situation of state and territory officers.

As we also stated in our submission, the integrity testing scheme under consideration should be strictly defined in legislation so as to exclude any operation on state and territory police officers. It should also contain strict guidelines on the consequences for a state and territory police officer who is indirectly implicated in the result of testing.

You will also note in our submission that we sought clarification on several issues, particularly the implications of the Commonwealth integrity testing scheme for state and territory police officers who are seconded to or act as special members of the Australian Federal Police. We also sought clarification on the ability under the ACLEI act to expand investigations to include what would otherwise be state or territory matters under provisions regarding state offences that have a federal aspect and joint investigations between the integrity commissioner and state or territory integrity agencies. We are not sure that the committee is probably in a position to answer those questions today but we would certainly ask that you take those things into consideration in your deliberations. We thank you again for the opportunity to be here and we are happy to answer any questions.

CHAIR: Thank you, Mr Burgess, and just note that the committee did put those questions to the Attorney-General's Department earlier today.

Mr Burgess : Thank you.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Are you suggesting that simply from a convenience and time point of view of individual officers that they are already subject to quite a lot of scrutiny-type checks? Thank you for listing them; I was not aware of all of those and it is certainly quite a number of regimes already in place. Is that the extent of your concern, that it is just involving the time and the inconvenience to individual police officers?

Mr Torr : It is also the distraction of resources from the fight against more conventional crime, if we want to call it that.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Of your resources, but if it were being done by ACLEI or something?

Mr Torr : No, the AFP's, the Commonwealth's resources, we have regard to that. Also, we tend to work on an argument based structure and I have never seen the argument put to us that this is needed anywhere. Yes, it is an idea and yes, other police forces have it and other police forces have different things to us. I heard a comment from the previous speaker talking about police in other jurisdictions. The AFP is like no other police jurisdiction in this country, let alone the world, in my studies. At any given time we can have 10 per cent of our people offshore, out of Australia; a third of our workforce is civilian; we have two styles of sworn officer; we have the majority of our workforce performing what you might conventionally call detective roles as federal agents in the investigative arena. So comparisons with a good idea in New York, well New York has been through a very different journey to our young organisation. It sheets back to my earlier comment, 'show us the argument and we will respond'. We responded very well when the argument was put forward to us about illicit drug use and we were very proactive in working with the organisation in implementing a model.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : I think an important point to make here is that almost half of the AFP now have been cleared up to the level of secret. The AFP intends to clear everyone to secret. As you would all be aware, that is a very extensive process in itself, added to these other integrity measures that are in place. So, we are unique in regards to a law enforcement agency in Australia in that we have this whole range of very effective processes and procedures in place.

There is a big issue in regards to the resourcing side of this issue. Right at this moment we are in negotiations, or they have just been completed, for an enterprise agreement. We are looking at the sum of around 200 police officers moving to the support work pattern and moving away from operations because of the AFP's financial budget. That is a fairly serious issue because this procedure, to be put in place effectively, costs a great deal of money and I am sure you have been looking at the cost factors to this. To be done properly, and I would suggest that New South Wales does it very well, there is a lot of additional resources put in to making it effective, and that is for targeted testing.

In regards to random testing, I really see this as an airy-fairy idea. I think other people have forgotten to mention that the KPMG audit of the random integrity testing of police officers in the City of New York concluded that random testing was ineffective in fighting corruption in the department.

CHAIR: That was some time ago, was it not?

Mr Hunt-Sharman : Yes it was, but you also need to look at the numbers in regards to cost factors. Of the 826 random tests that were conducted involving 1,811 officers, there was only one test failure. As a point of distinction, of the 45 targeted tests involving 65 officers, there were 12 criminal failures. Our point is that if we are going to move down an integrity path then it should be targeted and it should use the resources to assist where there is suspicion that there is corrupt activity and, as my colleague, Jim Torr said, we want it to stay at the high corruption level. It is a costly exercise to do it, we want to fight corruption first. Let us see how it goes at that level before we start moving down to behavioural issues. That is where it could get down to and I think that is a pretty serious issue if it starts to get there.

One of the strong values of the AFP is actually trust. Of course the independent office of constable is very dear to all of us. The problem with creating fiction is it starts to then cause a distrust amongst the organisation; you do not know when something is real and when something is not real in regards to being tested. We would suggest that if anything, it would make investigators even more cautious of doing their jobs. There are enough measures in place now to scrutinise the behaviour of police officers in the Australian Federal Police.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: We are talking about random and targeted integrity testing. You would not say it if it were not true, but I am surprised to see that there is random and targeted drug and alcohol testing up to 100 per cent already in place. You also say here that there is initial and regular financial disclosure of assets and debt. Is that just disclosure or does anyone do a random or targeted assessment of the disclosure? Is it just left to the individual officer to tell you or does someone double check?

Mr Torr : There is an obligation on employees to submit reports in changes of circumstances. I cannot tell you the exact threshold issues of numbers or windfalls, all those sorts of things. In honesty I would say you would be better off to address that question to the AFP in terms of whether they overtly go out and seek updates. The fact is we have just moved into a new headquarters, the Edmund Barton Building, where the AFP has set the standard at secret of any employee who goes through there. That will have resulted in many, many new security clearance processes. To absolutely answer your questions about the proactive side, I am afraid I cannot answer that.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Do you have a suspicion that they—what you are saying is to get secret classification, someone would be double checking information that individual officers have supplied?

Mr Torr : There is a finite period that a security clearance lasts and when it expires the whole process is recommenced. There is an obligation on the individuals if a significant thing happens within that period that they provide information. There are also the other measures we have in here. For example, let us say someone failed a drug test, apart from whatever sanction, whether it be criminal or internal and whatever risk assessment occurred as a result of that, that would certainly trigger a new security clearance as well. Sometimes these clearances are triggered by events that happen in the day-to-day life of an individual.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : Also as I understand it, certainly with promotion or if you are going to be deployed on the international deployment group, there is a reassessment done as well at that time. As Mr Torr said, if there is a change in your personal circumstances you have got to report it. If there is a change in your work circumstances you tend to have to go through the process again.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: You have got to report it but who checks that you are reporting accurately? I would not want to equate your profession with the profession I am currently in because we are also supposed to report interests, and you will be aware of a high profile incident in the last couple of days where one of our colleagues did not bother to report a change in interest. Again, I come back to the question with you people, is it just you reporting your own or does someone else check it? I think you have probably said you cannot answer it but you suspect that with your security classification that someone might be doing that in any case?

Mr Hunt-Sharman : I would suspect in regards to any professional standards matter, that if there were allegations against you that might relate to your financial status, two things would happen: they would pull out the file of your last financial declaration; and then also start doing some proactive looking at your financial affairs as they stand right at that moment as part of an investigation.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: If a couple of your guys start driving Maseratis that might encourage an investigation somewhere along the line?

Mr Torr : Very much, yes.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: You said, as I recorded it, that in an investigation of Sergeant So and So, how many times has he been investigated and whether they have found anything before raises questions about what that may suggest. To me, that suggests that you are suggesting that perhaps the people conducting the integrity tests need an integrity test themselves?

Mr Torr : The application for an integrity test to an extent is an integrity test. We have had the situation, and I made the point of the former Queensland Police Commissioner, that corruption can occur at any level and it is the most dangerous when it occurs amongst the corruption fighters. The Wood Royal Commission in New South Wales identified some of our senior people who were actually in charge of the internal security function of the AFP at the time in the busy Sydney office as falling short of the mark. Let us suppose that a junior whistleblower was starting to express concerns on that, what a good way to sort him out and send him a few dirty emails, see what he does with them, 'You have failed our internet usage policy, good bye.' Of course it is in the high levels of all organisations that the risk is the greatest. So the focus on the Sergeant So and So—why have you tested him nine times?—is because you are determined to get him. You cannot apply for a search warrant nine times—well you can but you probably understand my point—until you finally get the guy. We have had the conversation with the previous AFP Commissioner: you follow someone through their life 24 hours, seven days a week, you are going to find them do something, whether it is flick a butt out of a car window or giggle at a joke that they probably should not have been giggling at on a Commonwealth computer. Not to trivialise that, but if you follow someone long enough, you are going to get them.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I understand. Finally from me, Mr Burgess, I was going to ask you the question which I think you have asked us. You are urging that the state and territory police officers do not become subject to any new possible federal integrity thing. Do you have the same thought about state and federal officers who are seconded to the AFP or perhaps even the Crime Commission? Should they not be then subjected, were it the case that there were a regime of Commonwealth integrity testing?

Mr Burgess : I think you are right. There is a difference between a state or territory officer who may be have some involvement in AFP by a joint operation or something like that, as opposed to someone who is actually working in the AFP on a seconded basis or as a special member. There is a difference. All I am saying is that it needs to be clearly clarified as to how you would deal with those people because they are technically employees of another jurisdiction, and I think it would be appropriate to have that clarified in the legislation if there is to be legislation.

Mr HAYES: Mr Torr, I think you are right when you talk about Australian Federal Police being somewhat unique. It is a small jurisdiction but I have got to say it has probably the most power of any other Australian police jurisdiction. I am sure you can understand the argument that when the Commonwealth moves to increase the responsibilities of the police that come under its purview, one of the things in the check and balance that goes with that is ensuring that the organisation is target hardened against corruption.

I note that you have a default position as someone against integrity testing but you do see that if we are to engage in integrity testing it should be targeted, and that is from a resource base as well as a moral base from your perspective. Is it also right to say that if we did go in that direction that you would see this coming under direct purview of ACLEI and then subject to parliamentary oversight?

Mr Torr : You have summed up our request very accurately, Mr Hayes. That is exactly it. It is very important to get authorisation process and the management process out of the hands of the AFP, excepting that AFP investigators might be drawn in by ACLEI; they are a relatively small organisation. One of the reasons that we argued so long and hard for joint parliamentary oversight of the AFP was that accountability has to work for the credit and, as you acknowledge, the Commonwealth does invest very significant power in the AFP and in the individual investigators. It is very important to us that people in your position as elected representatives have an idea of what is going on and that the obligation rests upon ACLEI, if you go down that path, to provide reports to you.

Mr HAYES: Therefore you do not see any role for integrity testing into the day-to-day disciplinary regime within the AFP?

Mr Torr : The AFP well and truly has all the tools it needs to deal with those sorts of issues.

Mr HAYES: In respect to the PFA, I understand the position in terms of seconded police officers. We put this question a little earlier today to the ACC themselves—I am not sure they have seconded officers there at the moment but they do have the capacity to do that—that should there be a targeted integrity operation, how would you see that applying at the moment? The ACC had to take it on notice. They have not got a view on that just as yet. How would you see that applying?

Mr Burgess : I would probably be the same as the ACC. It would be interesting to try to work through how that would apply. As I said earlier to the senator, if you are seconded or acting as a special member of the AFP, you are in a bit of a different scenario to someone who is actually working for a state police agency or a territory police agency working mainly on a joint operation. We are just conscious to ensure that whatever comes from this inquiry, if it is to be legislation around an integrity testing regime, that it clearly identify how those things would work. We expect that perhaps it would be done in conjunction perhaps with one of the state integrity agencies but we would need to think through how best that would apply.

Mr HAYES: I imagine there has got to be some terms of agreement between jurisdictions when staff is lent or seconded elsewhere? I think what we would need to guard against is a target operation occurring and someone picking up the phone and alerting somebody else's boss in another state that one of their fellows might be under investigation without it ever being concluded. We were trying to actually work out this morning a little bit about that—how you would best go about doing that—to ensure that you protect not only the status of the operation but also the effect on the person concerned because the operation may not necessarily net faults in integrity.

Mr Burgess : I think there is a whole range of issues, not the least of which, but it could be ACLEI, for example, conducting an investigation in one of the states potentially in a property that is not Commonwealth property, for want of a better term. It could even be a state police premises. There is all of those sorts of issues to consider how those sorts of things would apply. I think it really needs some careful consideration.

Mr HAYES: In terms of checking on people, I am not sure at the moment how we are going to do it in ICAC, but one seems to have got through the net there. I have no further questions.

CHAIR: Just before you came to speak to us, we spoke to the Ombudsman by telephone and you may well have heard what he had to say. In his submission, and today orally, in his view integrity testing would not be effective if it was carried out by an outside agency because in that event—if it was ACLEI doing it, for example—the agency, the AFP or whichever agency it is, would close ranks against the outside agency that was carrying out the testing. Could you comment on that?

Mr Torr : I spent many years working with AFP professional standards and now I have spent many years defending or supporting our people who are subject of professional standards investigations and in my experience of investigations of serious matters I have never seen a gram of enthusiasm lacking in the AFP investigators who are investigating complaints against those of their fellow members. As I said before, that is why we invest our confidence in an organisation, namely ACLEI. Obviously, it does not know the ins and outs of every aspect of AFP conduct and for it to be effective, if you really are concerned at serious level corruption, it is hard to see how you could proceed without some of the AFP staff involved in the investigation.

CHAIR: It would be at least a joint operation?

Mr Torr : It is hard to conceive of it not being that; who knows, there could be a scenario. Given the complexity of an organisation like the AFP, you would need people who understand exactly how things work if you actually want to set the trap to catch the person.

CHAIR: In any event, however it ends up occurring, if it does, you would want ACLEI to have close oversight over it?

Mr Torr : Ultimately we would want someone from ACLEI, potentially being called before a parliamentary committee to talk about not necessarily operational details but to account for: the number of tests we have done; why we have done them; why anomalies seem on the face of it to appear, which may well be accounted for. We would have far more confidence hearing that from ACLEI after integrity tests were done than hearing it from a middle level manager in the AFP.

CHAIR: You would have also heard me talking to the Ombudsman about random testing, and I think it is fair that I put to you what was said earlier. I think you alluded to it in your reference to the situation in New York being quite different to the AFP. I accept that, but can you comment on the notion that random integrity testing leads to a general deterrence? That is, every officer knows that any given situation could be an integrity test and therefore they are inspired by that, so to speak, to not be tempted by any opportunities. As the New York Police Department has said, and as you have said as well, the vast majority of officers pass these tests with flying colours. They have said from that that they believe that it is actually a morale booster rather than a negative. I would like to hear your view on that.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : The reality is we see the limited resources in the AFP and the Commonwealth. If we are going to prioritise, what is more important is actually targeting the people that we suspect are corrupt and dealing with corruption through the other mechanisms that we have. Random integrity testing is more about an educational process; it is about setting up different models and then seeing the reaction and not necessarily dismissing people. It is about a whole program of educating. The difficulty with that is you cannot do the same integrity test twice because everyone will hear about it. I think we have heard about comments of $50 or $100 sat on the desk and whether anyone would pick it up.

CHAIR: No.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : No, but then everyone sees a $100 sitting on the desk and they say, 'Here goes the integrity test again.' You have to keep on changing it and the problem with that is the cost factor, the time and the cost to set up all the different scenarios. The reality is, again on prioritisation grounds, that we do not want to start at the lowest level of behaviour versus dealing with serious corruption. That is where we have got to target first as far as we are concerned. We do have faith in the ACLEI process. It could independently authorise targeted testing or it could utilise one jointly with the AFP, use the resources of the AFP if it wants to, it does that on other operations, or it can use other resources. Really with a limited AFP budget we would see this random integrity testing as way down the path.

Mr Torr : Could I just add something to that? Policing requires trust. The AFP has one of its core values as trust. In the environment out there, the hostile, quick moving environment, trust is everything. You do not really have a lot of time to second guess everything that comes your way before you start making decisions. In an intangible and philosophical sense: how do you reconcile an organisation and a profession that runs on trust where you have established a pretty big structure that says, 'We do not trust you and we are going to test you at every turn because we do not trust you'? It is another side to the issue.

CHAIR: Do you think it is about saying, 'We do not trust you,' or it is about ensuring public confidence in your organisation?

Mr Torr : We would say to the public, 'Be as confident as you can at the moment with what we have got.' We agree with former Commissioner Palmer who spent a lot of time dealing with and thinking of issues like this, and he saw that the negative effects would outweigh any positive outcome of random testing.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : Indeed, all other Australian jurisdiction police forces have considered it and have not done it. They have gone to targeted testing and I think internationally that is the same case, that it is very rare that any western police force has a random model. As far as we see it, we are happy to look at it. Again we go back to this great list of processes we already have in place, one of them being the confidant program. That is where anyone can anonymously report anything to the organisation for it to be investigated. There are lots of areas sitting underneath that list of 10 items. There is another probably 10 or 20 underneath it, all as a matrix which monitors police and their behaviour, but particularly in regards to corruption and organised crime.

CHAIR: What are you views on the relevance of integrity testing to ACT policing versus other AFP roles?

Mr Torr : The AFP is a big family in which there is constantly movement between different operational environments. Many people who are currently performing uniform policing in the ACT have worked in a federal environment, have worked, for example, in the Solomon Islands, have worked in support environments in headquarters. I suppose the point I am trying to make is there is a bit of the AFP in everyone, even if you are today working in the uniform policing environment. Once again, I suppose we go back to our foundation issue that we have read a lot of material but we have not seen the persuasive argument that it is something that should be added on top of everything else that is there.

CHAIR: I would like to ask Police Federation of Australia about your members' experiences of state police integrity testing regimes. I know New South Wales and Western Australia and, I believe, Victoria as well have one.

Mr Burgess : Our understanding is that WA is done under the Corruption and Crime Commission. New South Wales has testing, as you would be aware, under the New South Wales police act. Whilst random testing is not excluded under that legislation, it is not carried out as we understand it. We understand that is because, as my colleague said, if you do the cost-benefit analysis people have deemed it is not worth it. South Australia have targeted testing. It is not in legislation; it is only under general orders, as we understand it. Tasmania has integrity testing targeted only under their Police Service Act. Obviously the Office of Police Integrity has the powers in Victoria but we are not aware that anything takes place in the Northern Territory.

CHAIR: What has been the experience of your officers in relation to those testing regimes?

Mr Burgess : Certainly there have been some negative and some I suppose not so negative comments made. In our essence our position has been it is a state by state issue, and no doubt state governments and state police departments or territory police departments will make decisions based on situations that arise from time to time. I suppose in essence it has not been all negative. There have not been that many horror stories but, like my colleagues beside me, you often consider given what already exists in power to oversight police officers through the various bodies that exist, whether or not overlaying integrity testing is a worthwhile outcome. Certainly as we understand it, in all of the jurisdictions we talk about, anything other than targeted does not appear to be pursued in any way, shape or form.

CHAIR: In Western Australia, you say the Corruption and Crime Commission can do random and targeted?

Mr Burgess : I am not sure if they have the ability to do random and targeted but I certainly know it is done by the Corruption and Crime Commission. The only one that I am aware of that does not even have reference to random testing but it is not excluded in the legislation is in New South Wales.

CHAIR: Are you aware of how the CCC in Western Australia carries out its testing? Does it do it together with the WA Police or does it do it without their knowledge?

Mr Burgess : I do not know but, like my colleagues, I would probably be surprised if they had the capacity perhaps to do it without any involvement from the police. Because at the end of the day I think for the hands on stuff they would require the manpower, for want of a better term, I suspect of the relevant police jurisdiction. I could find that out for you but I do not have that information at hand.

CHAIR: Thank you.

Senator PARRY: I want to talk about random and targeted integrity testing. Can I just give you a scenario and invite you to comment? If you had, say, in a couple of suburbs in Sydney a police officer who is making inappropriate remarks to women, pulling them over in a random breath testing guise or something of that nature and there has been no clear identification of that officer, would it not be in the interests of the officers to have that officer exposed if this is happening? If the only way to do that is through some form of integrity test, that covers a fairly wide portion of the service. That blurs between a random and a targeted test; you are targeting an event but you are really having a random integrity test within the whole jurisdiction to catch who is doing that. I will just give you that scenario first if you would like to make a comment on that?

Mr Burgess : If you wanted to talk about somewhere in western Sydney, I would actually see it as more a targeted test because it would be—

Senator PARRY: But it does have an incredible random aspect attached to it?

Mr Burgess : Probably a play on words, Senator, but in reality if it was in a specific area such as western Sydney, then you would be refining it to a specific area. So, yes, whilst it might have some random nature about it, it would be specifically targeted at that area. For example, it might be a traffic scenario where it may be a highway patrol officer who has a more roaming brief across western Sydney, then it would be targeted, you would expect, at highway patrol officers in that area. So, it would have a targeted aspect. I am not aware of that sort of issue being one that has been subject to a test but I do still think that it would be certainly refining your search area to a small geographic location.

Senator PARRY: I suppose the clean definition of random is when you have got no incident to which to conduct an integrity test about. That is probably the clean definition. If we do take the scenario where maybe a quarter of a police jurisdiction is subjected to 'random' integrity testing because of an incident, then surely there could not be an objection if every now and then there is a random test? I will give you an example that I think the Chair used this morning where a wallet is placed on the charge counter in a police station or is handed in my someone anonymous saying it is full of $100 notes and they found this; maybe it had no identification in it. Then that is a test to see whether the officer does the right thing and processes that wallet accordingly. Now that only has to happen once in every blue moon, it does not have to happen every week. So is infrequent random integrity testing a real issue?

Mr Torr : I would use the parallel—should it be that you want to give that to police; why do we not offer a bribe to a judge randomly? These are pretty important stakes.

Senator PARRY: That is a good parallel, a good analogy.

CHAIR: What about a politician?

Mr Torr : I was going to say that but I was counselled not to before we came in here.

Senator PARRY: That is a very fair analogy to raise.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Not that we have any power to do anything, I might say.

Senator PARRY: No. Referring to the statement that you have quoted under item 6, the issue of former Commissioner Palmer who had some very strong words in that quote, how deep is the feeling within the service about random integrity testing?

Mr Torr : I think most of our members are so focused on just getting on with the job that they tend to invest a bit of trust in us to really formulate and gather their thoughts, which we have done via our national council process. We have their endorsement in what we are saying. Our members are so familiar with all the processes that are there at the moment that it is not something that they are urgently turning their mind to. With respect to the resources issue, the AFP have had the power to randomly test for alcohol consumption during operational hours. Apart from a critical incident, a vehicle issue or a firearms event or something of that nature, I am not aware of them ever having decided to see if Jim was at lunch today and had a few glasses of wine or those sorts of things. Our members do not probably feel that they are currently exposed to this in a great way. In terms of gauging their full angst on this subject, there are difficulties in that.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : There has certainly been discussion in the past about targeted integrity testing. The views through a survey we did from the membership was that they would only be supportive of it if it was approved and coordinated and over sighted by an independent body. The second question we asked them was whether we should have a parliamentary joint committee as an oversight of the AFP. The third question was whether we should have an integrity commission that oversights the AFP. The answers were yes, yes, yes. Now we have got two of them and you are discussing the third.

I think our members have been very supportive of proper oversight and transparency in what occurs. The danger of not having it legislated and not having it very clear with an independent body is the risk—and what we are afraid of—of a corrupt element within the police force, at whatever level, that could actually attack honest, straight cops and that would be the problem. It has not happened in the AFP to our knowledge but certainly there has been history of that as organisations have grown and so forth.

I go back to the point that there have probably been more cases where targeted integrity testing based on true suspicion could have ended up with a good result. Where you have got clever criminals such as ex-narcotic bureau personnel that have been caught up in various commissions, they were the customs narcotic bureau, there was suspicion all the time but they were clever and we have seen the outcome of that in recent times where we have used other operational techniques. Again, if we have got limited resources, that is where we would like to see it, at the corruption level, where we can really make it hurt against organised crime and corrupt police officers rather than behavioural issues of whether you have been rude to someone.

Senator PARRY: My final theme of question is just in relation to Mr Asher's comments, and the Chair touched upon that earlier. I did question and challenge Mr Asher's views. He said it should be internal. You have indicated you think it should by far be external. Do you see any internal role whatsoever, apart from secondment of AFP officers for the investigative capability to the ACLEI jurisdiction, in relation to any form of integrity testing that the AFP itself could have or any state jurisdiction could have?

Mr Hunt-Sharman : Certainly it is very hard to get information on targeted integrity testing, as you are probably well aware, because it obviously has to be kept very close to the chest for all the different organisations. As I understand, on various matters they will use other police officers from other jurisdictions, undercover operatives from other jurisdictions for that purpose, and I would imagine that if ACLEI had this oversight and direction, they could use AFP personnel but they could also use other agencies that are available to them for that purpose. Normal investigations at the high level involving corruption with ACLEI do often use our professional standards people to work with them on those processes.

Senator PARRY: I think the short answer would probably be no?

Mr Hunt-Sharman : Yes.

Senator PARRY: He was more talking about the cultural aspect and he was indicating that if you have an external agency running integrity testing it would not be the culturally correct thing to do internally, but I cannot see a role that you could play that would build that up from the bottom back up to ACLEI?

Mr Torr : In trying to answer your first question, in our view or on the basis of our submission should you adopt it or part of it, I cannot see that there would be no role for an AFP investigator in integrity testing of any form unless it was an ACLEI sanctioned event and it had been authorised.

Senator PARRY: Operating under that jurisdiction? Okay.

Senator WRIGHT: I just wanted to follow up one thing. You said a couple of times that we need to focus on the high end corruption and not the behavioural or the half-price Macca's end, and I know that you were saying that in the context of the integrity testing scenario. I understand you are saying that rather than random, look at targeting those high end things. I just wanted to take you back to one of the fundamental points that the Ombudsman was making, that you probably heard when you were in here. He said that essentially corruption is on a continuum and that by the time you get to it, arguably it is a bit late. He says that it is actually about preventative measures and that if you actually look at targeting the culture of that kind of slippery slope, then you start to question, in the Macca's example, why is the proprietor offering half-price Macca's and what kind of expectation is there in that relationship that is building up. So, it is not strictly on point in a sense because I understand you were talking about the integrity testing being random or targeted, but do you have views about what he was saying about trying to get ethics and that culture in right from the start, so you are trying to stop the corruption gradually happening?

Mr Hunt-Sharman : We in the AFP have continual training on professional standards matters and scenario and I would say nearly every course that is run has some element reminding people of the processes. We are a very educated workforce and a very professional workforce so what you find is that that probably does not need to be taught to us again; it is constantly there. The fact of any issue of any discount of any type is basically banned. I think McDonald's may be the only one that may or may not exist now but anything else you will have to report it. You would have to report it if someone else did it. There are a lot of mechanisms there. There an offence for you not to tell the organisation if you see something that you suspect is incorrect or improper. So you have got those measures all in place for the person that does do the wrong thing but I would say that it is really not necessary at that level. I think we have all been trained through that process, but we go back to that higher level issue.

Mr Torr : I think we are a bit cautious of the slippery slope argument. Police are confronted with ethical dilemmas all the time from day one but they get out there. The police officer who one day makes a poor judgment is not necessarily destined to be the drug trafficking corrupt senior police officer of tomorrow. In a fulsome and active police career, there are many different ways you can decide on a different set of scenarios and they are not all necessarily wrong. I do not think the slippery slope argument justifies retreating from us targeting this where we need to target it.

Senator WRIGHT: Thank you for that. I just wanted to explore that because my experience is only recent but there was a recent controversy in Queensland, you might remember, where there was a discussion about this very thing and there was a suggestion, reported in the media, that on the Gold Coast there were going to be some changes to the culture that had developed there and there was apparently quite a lot of push back. That is why I was really exploring it because that seemed to fit in with what the Ombudsman was saying about that and obviously that is something that you are already doing or looking at.

Mr Burgess : In part of my previous life in the New South Wales Police I worked in a department in New South Wales called the Royal Commission Implementation Unit which was a unit that was established to look at all of the reforms that came out of the Wood Royal Commission. A lot of people talked about the different issues that arose from the New South Wales Royal Commission. The key issue from our perspective that specifically came out of that was the need for institutional and cultural change, and I think that is what Mr Asher was saying in his evidence before you today. One of the things that was quite evident to us is that the Royal Commission was talking about particularly changing the culture in the organisation by not just having a punishment culture for every time somebody made an honest mistake but also looking at the way we use managerial regimes to actually correct behaviour before it gets to the point of needing some other form of correction. I think those findings of the Wood Royal Commission are as appropriate then as they are today for every jurisdiction, not only probably in Australia but around the world and I think Wood was far reaching in those issues.

I think it was a pretty interesting message to New South Wales that for too many years they had operated on a regime where people were at often times afraid to tell the truth for fear of what might happen to their colleague, et cetera, and so inadvertently they would cover up and do a whole range of things that they would not otherwise do. Yet if we treated these things in a managerial sense and recognised that people do make honest mistakes from time to time and treated them accordingly, then we would be able to, as I think the previous speaker Mr Asher was saying, correct a lot of behaviour in policing before it gets too bad.

Mr Hunt-Sharman : That is actually a very good point, if you do not mind me saying. What Mark has just mentioned is important in that New South Wales has then moved to that model after the Wood Royal Commission. The AFP then brought in Judge Fisher to review our integrity regime and we have adopted the New South Wales one and have had it in place since about 2003. It is about that cultural change but it has been in play. I think the comments made by the Ombudsman, with respect, are probably somewhat out of touch with where the organisations have got to with their own managerial processes to educate and train and so forth.

CHAIR: I thank the representatives from the Australian Federal Police Association and the Police Federation of Australia for taking the time to come and talk to us today. It was very helpful. That concludes today's hearing. Thank you to all witnesses who appeared. The committee stands adjourned.

Committee adjourned at 14:58